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Tour touts business opportunities

About 50 business owners, developers and real estate brokers took a bus tour of the Town of Lockport's business areas Thursday.

It was the first Lockport Business Showcase, an event intended to build on the town's recent big success in luring the $150 million Yahoo! data center and about 75 high-paying jobs to the town industrial park.

"We aren't just being passive about it," said David R. Kinyon, the town's economic development coordinator. "We'll see what the results are. If we can convert some of the interest we had [Thursday] into positive development, the expectations will have been exceeded."

Most of the people who took the tour drove to Eastern Hills Mall and rode a Grand Tours bus to Lockport.

They checked out the availabilities on the South Transit Road industrial strip and then headed to the industrial park off Upper Mountain Road.

"When we got to the industrial development area, it was really an eye-opener," said Martin C. Lougen Jr., partner in an Amherst accounting firm. "You've got to get off Transit Road and see the rest of the town."

"It was very enlightening," said Karl Puzio, a broker with Hunt Commercial Real Estate. "Knowing what's going on and the climate, we're certainly going to talk [Lockport] up."

Puzio said his firm has some Canadian clients who might be interested in Lockport as a U.S. location. He thought the presence of Yahoo! will get the attention of some business owners who might not otherwise consider Lockport.

"It's not going to seal the deal, but it gets people to listen harder," Puzio said. "Success always breeds success."

After the tour, there was an informal reception where the business people were joined by several local politicians and members of the boards of the town Industrial Development Agency and the city's Greater Lockport Development Corp.

The reception also marked the premiere of a seven-minute promotional video for the town, produced by Lockport Community Television and narrated by WLVL-AM morning host Paul Oates.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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